Interest Check -- Play-by-Post RPG?

Not the kind with cardstock and pawns. Mostly play by post Mafia so far.

Re: Interest Check -- Play-by-Post RPG?

Postby Adelene » Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:54 pm

Bluelantern wrote:
Adelene wrote:Well, we're doing our part for that, at least. ^^

I really like the baby-light spell, what is the minimum hit dice for a living spell?


One, but it's a d10 because they're oozes.

The weakest living spell using the existing template (pg. 294 of the eberron campaign setting book) would be a level 0 spell cast by a level 1 spellcaster. It'd be medium-sized, with 1d10 HD and 20ft speed (more if the spell has a range larger than close). For attacks, it has +0 to hit with a slam attack that does 1d4 damage and applies its spell effect to its target, plus an engulfing attack that grapples and applies the spell effect to its target (DC 10 reflex save allows this to be avoided). It also has ooze traits (mindless, blind+blindsight, immune to poison/sleep/paralysis/polymorph/stunning/flanking/crits), DR 10/magic, and spell resistance of 10. All its saves are poor but it gets a +1 resistance bonus to them. Stats are 11 str, 8 dex, 11 con, -- int, 8 wis, 11 cha and it's considered CR 1.

Just reducing it to tiny per the regular rules seems like it solves a different problem than the one this has - there's no affordance for dropping that d10 HD to something smaller, and while the engulfing attack does need to go and I won't argue with the slam being nerfed a bit, I'm pretty sure the real strength of the thing is in its DR and spell resistance.
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Re: Interest Check -- Play-by-Post RPG?

Postby jalapeno_dude » Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:35 am

Urpriest wrote:For my character, I've been thinking a bit about backstory. I think he's probably not completely brand new, but still new-ish. In particular, it probably makes sense for him to have done some scouting in a foresty/jungley place, to explain why they thought he would be a good addition to this mission. I don't know a lot about what would have been going on in this point of the war, though. Is the Eldeen Reaches rebelling against Aundair at this point? Does the war touch Q'barra at all?

PDV's response is correct, but for a little more detail: the Eldeen Reaches declared itself independent in 958 (i.e. 36 years ago). They're technically still rebelling, but there hasn't been a significant attempt by Aundair (or Breland or anyone else) to reclaim the Reaches since 975 (19 years ago).

Adelene, I have no issue mechanically with having a living spell as a companion, but we might need to finesse the flavor bit, because canonically they're associated mainly with the Mournland, which doesn't exist at the start of the campaign. The flavor text does provide a loophole:
These living spells still haunt the Mournland and other, smaller areas of land blasted by the Last War, apparently subsisting on ambient magical energy.
So you'd want to come up with the some incident in LurkerForged's past involving one of said smaller areas of blasted land.

__________________________________________

Okay, at this point it seems like people are starting to get comfortable with their character concepts, so I'd like to turn back to the question of what organization you're all working for that's sent you to Xen'drik.
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Re: Interest Check -- Play-by-Post RPG?

Postby Adelene » Tue Jan 26, 2016 2:01 am

jalapeno_dude wrote:Adelene, I have no issue mechanically with having a living spell as a companion, but we might need to finesse the flavor bit, because canonically they're associated mainly with the Mournland, which doesn't exist at the start of the campaign. The flavor text does provide a loophole:
These living spells still haunt the Mournland and other, smaller areas of land blasted by the Last War, apparently subsisting on ambient magical energy.
So you'd want to come up with the some incident in LurkerForged's past involving one of said smaller areas of blasted land.


Hmmm.

I think what happened there is that when those blasted places started showing up (or when they started showing weird traits), House Cannith was curious about whether they had any weird interactions with warforged and sent her to find out. This might've been what brought out her sorcery, even, being exposed to more extreme levels and kinds of magic. (I don't think House Cannith actually knows she's a sorcerer, though. She barely knows; what she can do looks and feels very different from the wizardry she's familiar with.)

*think think think* hmm - ooh, yeah, that works.

Okay, so this bit of blasted land used to be a mage school, and it's especially inclined to make living spells out of lower level spells rather than higher level ones. There were several of those kicking around in there, and in particular she ran across one that had started as a living detect magic spell and had been 'eating' other living spells to combine with them - of course, as a mindless creature it wasn't doing this with any particular strategy, so a good portion of the spells it applied to people it fought were buffs rather than actual attacks. She came across it trying to eat the little light spell, and proceeded to have what will probably always be the single weirdest battle she's ever been in, partly because of the utter randomness of the effects that were applied to her during it but mostly because the exposure to the detect magic spell interacted with her own wonky sensory spells to awaken her as a sorcerer, which was more than slightly disorienting. She won anyway, though, and then in the aftermath as she was trying to work out what exactly had happened, she semi-accidentally familiar'd the light spell. And then went '...um' and 'I need to get out of here before this does anything else weird to me', trapped another living spell to submit with her report, and got the heck out of dodge.

This also goes at least part of the way to explaining why she's going on the expedition here; since that incident she's been trying to spend as little time at home as possible, to minimize the chance of her new abilities being found out while she figures out what if anything she wants to do about them - she's passing it off as 'that trip to the ruin was fun, I'd like to do more like that', spun however is likely to be most effective. The little light spell meanwhile has taken up residence in a hooded lantern she picked up on her trip; it does a pretty decent impression of a regular light spell, and hasn't drawn any particular attention so far.
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Re: Interest Check -- Play-by-Post RPG?

Postby Kappa » Tue Jan 26, 2016 9:21 am

Oh goodness. Li'l light spell. ^_^
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Re: Interest Check -- Play-by-Post RPG?

Postby Tamien » Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:53 pm

What a good light spell. I would give it a pat but it is made of light and magic and those are hard to pat.
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Re: Interest Check -- Play-by-Post RPG?

Postby Bluelantern » Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:03 pm

Tamien wrote:What a good light spell. I would give it a pat but it is made of light and magic and those are hard to pat.

except when it isn't.

You know, a living-light-spell familiar sounds like a major oversight among whoever is charged with inventing new familiars. I should have tried convince you guys to use Mutants and Masterminds instead, we wouldn't have this problem.
Sorry for my bad english

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Re: Interest Check -- Play-by-Post RPG?

Postby Adelene » Wed Jan 27, 2016 4:43 pm

hee. ^^

More thoughts on Lurkerforged:
Okay so the thing with the magic. When House Cannith was first making warforged - and optionally right up to the end to a degree, since idk exactly how JD is going to want to play this - they weren't thinking 'make a suitable artificial body for a soul to pilot around', they were thinking 'magic a golem into being able to do all the things a person can do'. And to start out with, they kind of... overshot. In a fairly specific way, though; it's not that Lurkerforged has a bunch of extra magic power clinging to her or something, it's that she has a bunch of technically-superfluous spells doing things that she'd be better off if her soul was handling, primarily with her speech (such as it is) and senses.

On the speech front, she's somewhere in the vicinity of Wall-E, or a cross between Lapis-in-the-mirror and a star wars bot - she can generate words and short phrases, but not a full range of them and it's hard to understand her if you're not familiar with her, and she has a much easier time mimicking things she's heard recently than adding things to the set of phrases she can consistently say; on the other hand she can and does make a wide variety of expressive noises, including ones biological creatures can't manage. She also has a tendency to lose control of her voice when under extreme stress - the correct way to handle a warforged's voice is to let their soul do the heavy lifting of figuring out what to say and how to say it, and limit the magic to sound generation; in her case the magic tries to generate utterances itself, and most of the time she has that under control but every once in a while she slips. (I haven't figured out what this sounds like yet, or even whether it's clear that it's happening; I'm probably going to wait and see if it comes up in-game and decide based on what makes for a good story.)

In terms of senses, she's much closer to normal - golems don't talk at all, so they were kind of taking a shot in the dark with that and even if they'd been right about what they needed to do the result wouldn't've been very good, but they do have senses, so there was more of a starting point to work from in that case, and most of the time it's not obvious that there's anything weird going on there at all. But under the surface, she's still got magic doing stuff that isn't generally handled that way, and when she had her run-in with the magic-detection-granting living spell, she noticed, and ended up with what is basically a meta-sense: she can 'see' how her sensory magic works, and with practice she's learned to fiddle with it, with various effects.

History: She's one of the very oldest warforged - maybe not in the first ten, but certainly in the first fifty and probably in the first twenty - Eberron being Eberron, she's likely #13, in which case she does know the actual number of older warforged and what happened to each of them. In any case, she's the first one they made an active effort to keep around in the long term - in the earlier and most of the later testing models, they were trying to work out what would make the warforged effective as warriors, but she was made as a case study in what works with regards to warforged as people, so they needed to keep her around for longer-term observation. That was the focus of the first few years of her life; the trip to observe the kobolds happened relatively early in that - it was a test of how much autonomy a warforged could be given and still act as required, and she very nearly 'failed', but the kobolds helped her work out what was happening, and she went back and at least gave the appearance of cooperation, to keep the opportunity to affect how they treated the other warforged.

Once House Cannith was satisfied with their warforged-training plans, they retired Lurkerforged as a test subject. She knew this was coming (she'd seen it with others) and didn't want 'retired' to translate to 'destroyed', so she made a point of making herself useful in another way. Ideally this means she was helping to build new warforged bodies, but the sourcebooks aren't clear on whether that's a thing; it kind of sounds like the forges just took in raw materials and spat out finished products with no human intervention in between, in which case she found some other sort of work to do and picked up warforged repair later. (It's possible, actually, that she was the first warforged artist and that caught someone's eye well enough to get them to request that she be kept around... yeah, I like that as the backup, go with that if helping create new warforged isn't an option.) That made up the bulk of her ~35 years; she was occasionally pulled to be a guinea pig for something when they needed a warforged and didn't want to risk one of the more valuable ones, but not often, and she did a good enough job of hiding the true extent of her capabilities that they never sent her off on a task that was completely out of her depth. (Yes, she regularly lied to them about what happened. This is part of why I want her to have a warforged repair skill, so that putting 'I got mauled by X but fixed myself' in her reports when it's not true is an option.)

And that brings us more or less up to the present day. The thing with the living spells was recent, perhaps a few months before the start of the campaign; she's been looking for an opportunity to sign up for a longer expedition since it happened, and the Xen'drik one is the first even slightly suitable thing she's heard about.

For social interaction... she comes off as friendly and outgoing, even perky, and there's a degree to which that's true, but it's mostly an act: she really, really doesn't trust people, as a general rule, and putting on an act that she's fairly shallow is her first line of defense to keep them from watching her too closely. In reality, her first instinct with almost any sort of interesting or unusual information is to keep it a secret, and she spends a lot of time and mental effort on figuring out what makes people tick so that she can tell them whatever will get them to react the way she wants them to. She does use this power pretty strictly for good - even if she didn't, the fact that she's running an ultra-long con limits what lies she can tell, but even above and beyond that she doesn't want anyone to get hurt or even be seriously inconvenienced; it's just that between her lack of direct power to protect people and the fact that so many of her interactions with other people have involved them manipulating her, she sees it as the obvious way to get things done.

In a fight, she focuses on being hard to hit and waiting for her attacker to give up and go away rather than actually defeating her opponent; when that doesn't work, she tries to disarm them and see if that gets them to back off before making any serious attempt to hurt them. In a group combat situation she's inclined to be somebody's flanking buddy. (Checking the rules, it appears that you can't feint an opponent to distract them from a flanking ally's attack; this seems like an oversight and she wants to be able to do that.) Outside of combat, she's about equally comfortable working in a group or working alone, but it's important to her to be able to spend time by herself on a somewhat regular basis; this manifests in a few different ways, but one of the most obvious is that she'll 'volunteer' for scouting missions by just going and doing them without discussing it with the group, and she also tends to wander off to be by herself during mealtimes. Beyond that, she's pretty focused on fitting in and keeping her head down, at least until (or, more accurately, unless) she comes to trust her companions not to be awful if they happen to get a more accurate picture of her.

Also, when they get back from Xen'drik and she hears about the day of mourning, her reaction is going to be to go right back home and try to find out what the fuck. Depending on her relationship with her companions at that point, she may tell them that she's going or even try to talk them into joining her, but short of someone physically restraining her, yeah, that's going to happen.
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Re: Interest Check -- Play-by-Post RPG?

Postby jalapeno_dude » Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:40 pm

I really like this, and will give more detailed comments later, but want to correct one thing: Eberron being Eberron, Lurkerforged should be number 12, i.e. the 12th one officially created by Cannith, and it will turn out that this does not quite mean she was the 12th warforged ever created. :p
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Re: Interest Check -- Play-by-Post RPG?

Postby Adelene » Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:51 pm

Sure, twelfth is fine. :)
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Re: Interest Check -- Play-by-Post RPG?

Postby Adelene » Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:50 pm

Further bits:

- Lurkerforged's name/designation is Twelve. She answers to it mostly on the basis that she'll answer to anything that's obviously enough someone trying to refer to her.

- She's believed that she's a person since the kobold trip. I don't want to step on JD's toes too much there, but I think it's reasonable for that interaction to have started with 'what kind of person are you' or 'are you a person' or something along those lines, and that's about all it'd take for her to go '...huh', even if they don't get into a deeper discussion with her on the topic like I think they do. (And having read what exists of the Eberron kobold background, I bet they have Opinions about humans playing god like this...)

- I found an answer to the warforged-creation question, I think; the example fighter in the Eberron Campaign Setting is a warforged who has a specific creator, and the creator is more or less just some random gnome artificer. (The warforged also has enough information about his creator to go find him after the war, which is interesting but not super relevant to my situation.) It could still be that the physical crafting part is handled by the forge and they just need artificers to run the magic, but that seems implausible to me given they apparently need enough workers that they're hiring outside the house.

- Therefore, Lurker does pretty definitely know blacksmithing. One implication of this is that she's made her own smithing and thievery tools; they're masterwork, and not just optimized for travel but also optimized for her in particular; they fit into/under/alongside/around her plating, so they're conveniently available and it's not particularly obvious she's carrying them at all.

- Oh that was the other thing: She can write and draw just fine, despite her trouble with speaking. This was a surprise, and the clue that put House Cannith on the path to fixing warforgeds' voices in general; they hadn't enspelled her to be able to write, and weren't expecting her to be able to. (The earlier ones would have been able to too, but weren't given enough opportunity to learn how or show that they could.)
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